MOTOR VEHICLE (car, truck or motorcycle) ACCIDENTS
Generally, all motor vehicle accidents (truck, auto or motorcycle) share the following important things you should know!
Whenever involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should carefully note certain things:
First, try to remember whether before the accident you saw (direct line of vision or in the mirror) the other driver on a cell phone, texting or doing something (e.g., turned while speaking with someone, reaching into the back seat, putting on make-up, etc.) that directed his/her attention elsewhere.
Next, observe the other driver after the accident, to see if there is any odor of alcohol, slurred speech, etc. and listen closely to anything the driver says, especially if the driver apologizes or says something like (s)he is late for work or “didn’t see . . .”
Next, take pictures of damages to both vehicles & possibly, the tires of the other driver’s vehicle, if they are bald (report any of the foregoing to the police officer who arrives on the scene, so these facts will be put into the accident report); ALSO, the driver’s license and insurance card. Next, have your insurance information readily available to provide to the other driver and police officer. Even if the other driver admits fault and tells you that his insurance will handle everything, YOU MUST STILL CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY TO REPORT THIS ACCIDENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
Finally, if you are injured, THINK before minimizing your injuries to the police officer or other driver. Many people refuse an ambulance to take them to a medical facility and later find out their injuries are far more serious than what they believed them to be shortly after the impact. One reason for this is that some injuries (such as soft-tissue damage, commonly referred-to as “whiplash” and/or concussions) take a while to register on your body. Often, until you feel pain or other effect, you believe yourself to be uninjured. So, it is often prudent (if the impact is severe or you feel any symptoms at the scene of the accident) to be taken to an emergency room to be examined.
AFTER LEAVING THE SCENE of the accident; and after having obtained whatever medical treatment necessary immediately after the accident, there are other important steps you should follow. Buy a little notebook (do not use this notebook for anything else); use it every day and keep track of:
- List all significant medical events which occur, such as: (a) instances and/or levels of pain, (b) trips to the hospital, doctor and all other medical providers and (c) jot into the notebook all that was told to you (pertaining to your medical treatment) at each visit;
- List all expenses you or others (including your insurance company) pay as a result of the accident, including (but not limited to) things such as miles travelled to and from medical treatment, prescription drugs (keeping track of the entire expense of each drug needed, including what your insurance company pays AND your co-pays [keep all this information in a separate section of the notebook]) and KEEP ALL RECEIPTS;
- All times & days of work missed as a result of your injuries (include medical appts.); &
- All normal activities you individually (and/or with your significant other) were unable to enjoy as a result of the accident, including such things as golfing, bowling, recreational sports, dancing, sexual intimacies, etc.
NOTE: The foregoing is a partial list of “damages” for which you may be entitled to be compensated. In other words, based upon your having documented (on a day by day basis) and listed things such as:
- “Pain & suffering” (including the severity [rating it on a level of 0 – 10, with “10” being the highest level of pain you could imagine experiencing and “0” being no pain] each day you list it (noting the pain levels (i.) upon getting up in the morning, (ii.) after getting off work and (iii.) right before going to bed);
- “Medical expenses” – the person(s) responsible for your injuries do(es) NOT get the benefit of your insurance company getting reduced rates or having paid for your medical treatment, but is/are responsible for the full entirety of all medical charges (reasonably related to your injuries);
- “Lost time” – the person responsible for your injuries is also responsible for reimbursing you for all full or partial days lost by you (even if you take vacation days) as a result of your injuries, BUT ONLY IF your doctor states (in a written “off work slip” or the like) that you must stay off work;
- “Loss of normal life” and/or “loss of consortium” – the person(s) responsible for your injuries is also responsible for your loss of those normal activities of life you normally participated in and enjoyed before the accident, but were unable to participate in and/or enjoy after the accident; and
- “Disability(ies)” – the person(s) responsible for your injuries is also responsible for any and all disability(ies) suffered by you as a result of the accident as well.
The foregoing listings are NOT necessarily all the damages you may be entitled to receive compensation for, as a result of your injuries. Each case is unique, onto itself, and your entitlement to compensation is something the attorney retained by you can (after reviewing all facts of the accident, the nature and extent of your injuries, your medical treatment, your disabilities, etc.) properly assess. Generally speaking, the greater your lawyer’s experiences in the area of personal injury, the greater the likelihood of your obtaining greater compensation for the injuries resulting from your accident. Mr. McDermott has been practicing law in the field of personal injury in excess of thirty-eight (38) years.
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